Friday, October 19, 2012
the year of the dragon
When I turned 44, I let go of my inner critic (the one who warned of sagging, and distortion and of future embarrassment) and I used the money my mother sent me for my birthday and I got my first tattoo, a 5cm in diameter spiral sun burst, it sits just above my heart. People can only see hints of its edges with most clothing I wear, which is what I wanted. I wanted a sun to remind me of my inner radiance, and I also wanted to tease people, just a bit. In Yoga you see a lot of tattoos. Not so many skulls, or flames, more OM symbols, butterflies, birds, flowers, all very, well, Yoga like. In a Yoga top, in a few positions you can see all of it, which is great in Yoga, I fit right in.
My mother, who owns 20 cashmere twin sets, irons all bed sheets, and who is always socially impeccable, was appalled, which made me smile, just a bit. She warned how awful it would look when I was 70 and 80, when my breasts were racing to my waist, how I would regret this, which made me smile just a little bit more into my artfully arranged salad (we were out for a civilized lunch at the time).
My daughters were awestruck with my new coolness.
That was 4 1/2 years ago, and I want another, two actually. My oldest daughter, who has three (all small and very clever and tasteful) is thrilled. I want a Dragon, like the one I had airbrushed onto the back of my shoulder during a girl's weekend in Provincetown, to remind me of my inner dragon, and also to look just a little bad ass in Yoga. It's the Year of the Dragon, my year, and I am discovering the closer I get to 50, the less I worry about what other people think, or what I will look like when I'm 70, or 80, or even 90. Personally, I think I'll look kind of cool, but who knows, I'm not there yet.
The other tattoo I want will go along the edge of my right foot, so I can see it when I'm meditating. It's a line from a favourite poem "What I do is me: for that I came".
Any there it is. What I do IS me. It's taken nearly fifty years of trying things the hard way, of trying to fit what I am into everybody else's definition for me, for me to realize I like me as I am, and starting from there is as good a starting place as any.
Here is the actual poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins
As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell's
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves - goes itself, myself it speaks and spells,
Crying What I do is me: for that I came."